It has finally begun to dawn on Senate Republicans that they have fumbled badly in the “United States Policy on Iraq Act”, more commonly known as the Warner Amendment. Unfortunately, instead of accepting the damage they have done and their responsibility, the consensus of the GOP Senate is to either ignore the effect of their action, or else deceitfully try to explain their way out of it. Many Senators have tried to simply head out on vacation with no apology for their action, while a few have actually tried to excuse their conduct. That won’t work, as events will unfold.
The Warner Amendment came as a vapid response to a Democrat-sponsored cheap shot, a demand for a withdrawal from Iraq which failed in the Senate by a 58-40 vote.
First off, note that the Democrat’s resolution was the template for the Republican version, to such a degree that the actual document presented for the vote simply scratches out the names of the Democrat sponsors and replaces their names with “Mr. Warner” and “Mr. Frist”. Let me say that again; the actual Republican resolution was actually nothing but a modified version of the Democrats’ own demands! There is no way, given the tone and wording of the resolution, that any Republican who voted for the Warner Amendment can pretend to have done proper diligence or focus on the interests of the nation, our troops, or the goals for the Iraq effort. This is, to use a crude analogy, like a man who admits that he propositioned a hooker, paid her and watched her undress, but who somehow maintains to his wife that because he didn’t complete the act he somehow did nothing wrong. Betrayal of trust is unforgivable, Misters Senator, and you should have known that long before you played into this trick.
So, what does this resolution do? First off, there is the stated “purpose”, which includes lines like “recommend changes to the policy” and “require reports on certain matters”. The Democrats love these, because they are obvious rebukes of the Administration. No Republican claiming to stand with the President has any business supporting such attempts, and they know it.
Next up is Section [b](3), which specifically calls for “the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq” in “calendar year 2006”. That’s government talk for “Run Away! Run Away!”, which again is exactly what Democrats have always wanted in Iraq, and no Republican should have considered for even a second.
Section [b](4) specifically demands that the United States publicly announce their intention to leave, to the people of Iraq, which would demoralize millions of Iraqis who believed the promise of American commitment to full stability in Iraq, including millions of women who voted for the first time, and millions of families who dared to express their free speech in the open. This statement represents a betrayal of promises and commitments made, because it demonstrates a lack of resolve critical to the survival of a democratic republic in Iraq. I can’t imagine any U.S. serviceman in Iraq thinking such a statement would be in any way advisable or reasonable in the foreseeable future.
Section [c] goes on to demand, “every three months … until all United States combat brigades have redeployed from Iraq, the President shall submit to Congress an unclassified report on United States policy and military operations in Iraq”. This is unconscionable, in that this would demand the President defend his decisions over and over again, in a circus tent forum (“unclassified” not only bars relevant information to defend key decisions, but would provide fodder to a press corps known to be hostile to the military, to the point of malice), and allow countless fishing expeditions by Congressmen and Senators looking for political opportunity at the expense of the war effort. Just imagine such a demand of Roosevelt during World War 2, or of Reagan during talks with the Soviets.
Section [c] also includes such gems as [c](1)(A) demanding “compromises necessary” from the Iraq government, which is doubletalk for appeasing terrorists entrenched in Iraq; and [c](1)(B) demanding bring in “the international community” to “forge a … political settlement”, which is doubletalk for saying let the United Nations co-opt democracy in the name of expediency. There is not one person with a knowledge of history, who could honestly believe such demands would lead to a stable or healthy Iraq.
In short, the resolution demands miracles now, or else to just pull out and run. It completely abrogates not only the moral purposes for removing Saddam Hussein from power, but also pursues a reckless path likely to harm, even kill, the innocent and virtuous citizens of Iraq by abandoning them to the whims and desires of known enemies on their borders, and to the terrorist factions which already threaten their future. In essence, the only thing which stands between most Iraqis and the chaos of terrorism and a new dictatorship, is embodied by the United States Armed Forces. And the people who voted for this resolution want that protection removed. Such a statement is unconscionable on every level of honor and decency.
Matthew McDonald, speaking for Senate Republicans, sent a mass e-mail yesterday to bloggers and the press, in a weak attempt to justify the betrayal of Iraq and our military. In a piece he titled “Setting The Record Straight”, McDonald not only ignored the specific text and demands of the resolution approved by the Senate, as well as the absolutely stupid tactic of using the Democrat’s own proposal as the template for the Republican version, he also falsely tried to pretend that the Republicans somehow were supporting the President and the People of Iraq in this betrayal. Sorry, Mr. McDonald, but you could not be more wrong in that pretense. As your own e-mail admitted, Senator Harry Reid was able to claim that the Senate – Republicans and Democrats alike – demanded that Bush “change course in Iraq”. (Senate Floor, November 17)
See that figurative knife sticking out of the backs of millions of Iraqi kids, Mr. McDonald? It reads “Made by the GOP” on the handle, and it came from your table.
Senator Warner actually tried to claim “I think this is supportive of the strong points the President has consistently made. In no way is it to be construed, in my judgment, as critical.” (Press Conference, November 15)
Translation: 'You see honey, I didn’t know she was a hooker, she looks a lot like you and I thought I was actually being faithful… and I only gave her fifty bucks to get undressed, uhhhhh, because I thought she needed to change into better clothes, yeah that’s it’ Sorry, MISTER Warner, but no one outside the Beltway could possibly believe that lie for a second.
The e-mail from “Ronald” McDonald went on to compare the demands in the resolution to statements made by and regarding the Iraqi citizens, completely missing the critical distinction between a nation making strides on its own initiative and efforts, and the demoralizing effect of being left on your own after a deadline. The e-mail from Mr. McDonald did serve one useful purpose, though – the inability of Mr. McDonald to understand the sheer lunacy of voting for such an execrable resolution shows just how insulated and unrealistic your average Senator’s comprehension of the real world has become.
As a Texan, I would like to use my own Senators as an example for a personal message I think we should all be sending:
Senators, you have forfeited your right to hold office. By siding with enemies of the people of Iraq and by betraying your President, especially while he was visiting a major foreign nation, you have demonstrated a complete lack of fitness for the duties and responsibilities of your office. You may count on my tireless efforts to see you replaced with a Republican who keeps his word and honor, and I am joined in that determination by millions of other Republicans who count our President and our troops of worthy of support, and who have no tolerance for betrayal or an expedient politician like yourself.
In conclusion, I would like to note the breakdown of the votes between the Democrat's Surrender-Now demand and the Republican copy. Two senators did not vote on either measure; 53 voted 'yea' on both resolutions; 26 voted 'nay' to the Democrat version, but 'yea' to the GOP-brand White Flag; 6 Democrats voted 'yea' to the Democrat version, but 'nay' to the GOP version out of spite; and fourteen brave souls had the integrity and courage to vote 'nay' on both resolutions. These are the Senators we should applaud and watch for their future votes, as they are the only Senators who seem to understand the concepts of Leadership, Commitment, and Honor:
From Kentucky, Senator Jim Bunning [R]
From North Carolina, Senator Richard Burr [R]
From Georgia, Senator Saxby Chambliss [R]
From Oklahoma, Senator Tom Coburn [R]
From South Carolina, Senator Jim DeMint [R]
From South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham [R]
From Oklahoma, Senator James Inhofe [R]
From Georgia, Senator Johnny Isakson [R]
From Arizona, Senator Jon Kyl [R]
From Arizona, Senator John McCain [R] (don't get cocky, John - you still have to explain your campaign finance "reform", and that 'let's leave it to the lawyers' bill you pushed on Torture definitions and restrictions)
From Alabama, Senator Jeff Sessions [R]
From South Dakota, Senator John Thune [R]
From Louisiana, Senator David Vitter [R]
And, in proof that there is yet at least one Democrat who knows what Democrats used to stand for, Senator Kent Conrad [D] from North Dakota
Speaking for myself, Kyl should be made Senate Majority Leader, and Thune should be given a strong whip, and a license to get the party back in line.